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AthletesCAN Forum Keynote Speaker Graphic

Former Canadian basketball player and indigenous advocate Michael Linklater will headline the 2022 AthletesCAN Forum, slated for Oct. 15-16.

Linklater, who represented Canada in 3×3 competition for several years in addition to playing in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL), will deliver the keynote address to kick off the event on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 11 a.m. ET / 8:00 a.m. PT, speaking on how inclusion and accessibility to sport for all can improve sport culture within Canada. 

The 2022 AthletesCAN Forum, titled Reimagining Culture through a Safe Sport Lens, will be open to all National Team athletes qualifying for AthletesCAN membership. Sessions will be formatted in an engaging manner with discussion encouraged on a variety of topics that impact sport culture and will provide athletes with the tools they need to engage in discussions surrounding these topics within their National Sport Organizations.

 The annual AthletesCAN Forum is the largest and most inclusive gathering of Canada’s national team athlete representatives outside of competition. It brings together Canada’s high-performance athletes and sport leaders to learn about the sport system, develop leadership skills, share ideas and network through interactive workshops, seminars and presentations. 
 
The 2022 AthletesCAN Forum will feature some of the country’s top sport leaders discussing crucial topics currently impacting the Canadian sport landscape. Sessions in this year’s program will center around how to re-imagine culture within your organization through a safe sport lense. Discussions will cover how accessibility and inclusion in sport can foster a better sport culture for all. Participants will be provided with practical exercises and tools to start these discussions within their own organizations.
 
Forum will be delivered virtually, with complimentary registration for all AthletesCAN members and sport system leaders.

Forum Program

Session 2: Oct. 15 - 1:15 p.m. ET / 10:15 a.m. PT

Lee Anna Osei , MA, is a Ghanaian-Canadian professional basketball coach, trainer and anti-racism in sport administrator.  A former standout NCAA and U SPORTS basketball athlete, Coach Lee is a champion for diversity, equity and inclusion in the Canadian sport sector and is founder of Canletes and The Black Canadian Coaches Association (BCCA).

Dallas Randolph (Keeshig) Soonias is a former professional volleyball player. He was born in Saskatoon, Sask. but grew up in Red Deer, Alta. and is registered in Cape Crocker reserve in Ontario.

While completing his Bachelor of Arts in psychology at the University of Calgary, Dallas assisted with the school’s men’s volleyball Team.  He also competed for Red Deer College, the University of Alberta and professionally for clubs around the world.

In 2019, he served as head coach of The Cold Garden Tropikills, as they took the championship of the first professional volleyball league in Canada. He is currently the head coach of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) Trojans men’s volleyball program, as well as a student at UBC working on a Master’s degree in high performance coaching.

In 2004, Dallas became a member of the Canadian senior men’s volleyball team, competing in hundreds of matches including all major tournaments and competitions over a 15-year career.

Dallas is proud to be the first male indigenous Canadian to represent Canada at the highest level of his sport and feels honored and blessed that the game he loves has taken him to all the corners of the planet.  He always keeps in mind when he puts on the jersey, he’s not just representing Canada, but also the First Nations peoples. Dallas has made a number of trips to northern First Nations communities to meet and mentor young athletes and give volleyball clinics.

In 2016, upon retiring from professional sport, Dallas’ love for the arts was reignited. Since then he has been featured and stared in plays, films and television shows, and is now also working behind the camera producing and directing. He is also a featured Neechie Gear Role Model

Jhanelle Peters is a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and serves as the Mental Health Clinician for the Toronto Raptors. Jhanelle also works with various grassroots community organizations as a mental health professional and individual clients through her Toronto-based private practice Jhanelle Peters Psychotherapy. 

 

With compassion and understanding at the forefront, Jhanelle works with individuals to identify strengths, tools and personal determination that can lead to positive and lifelong changes. With a background in mental health and social housing, Jhanelle has worked in both the United States and Canada, helping individuals and organizations uncover negative patterns and behaviours that make life and workplace settings challenging to navigate.

Chris de Sousa Costa is a former karate national team athlete, competing in the men’s kumite +84kg category from 2004-15. During his athletic career, he was an 11-time Canadian champion, three-time Commonwealth champion, two-time Pan-American champion, three-time North American champion, and winner of the US Open. He is also a two-time Karate Canada Sportsmanship Award winner and three-time Canadian Male Athlete of the Year. Chris retired from competition after the 2015 Pan American Games in his hometown of Toronto, where he was team captain of the karate delegation.

Chris has extensive experience in governance and advisory work, having been the Athlete Representative on Karate Canada’s Board of Directors for nine consecutive years, and is an advisor on their High-Performance Committee, developing best practices for athlete selection criteria, competition planning, and athlete development. Chris also created and served as chairperson of Karate Canada’s inaugural Athlete Council, with full terms of reference and diverse representation across karate disciplines, able-bodied and para athletes, geography, and with an equal male/female split. Chris had the privilege of providing live analysis for the CBC during karate’s Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020. He is currently an event national team coach, having coached at the North American Cup, Senior Pan American Championships, and Karate1 Series A events.

Chris completed his Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Communication Studies from York University and his Graduate Diploma in Business (GDB) program from Queen’s University through a scholarship between Game Plan and the Smith School of Business at Queen’s. Following his GDB, he spent three years at the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance carrier, providing risk transfer solutions for private and non-profit entities within management liability. 

 

Currently, Chris is completing his Master of Business Administration with a specialization in innovation and entrepreneurship at Queen’s and is the current Chief of Staff of the Queen’s University Alternative Assets Fund – Canada’s first student-directed portfolio of alternative strategies, which holds over $600,000 in assets under management. 

Session 3: Oct. 15 - 3:15 p.m. ET / 12:15 p.m. PT

Erin Willson is a retired artistic swimmer, representing Canada for seven years. While part of Team Canada, her team won gold at the World Trophy in 2009, bronze medals at the 2009 and 2011 World Championships, a bronze medal at the 2010 World Cup, and was part of the team that placed fourth at the London 2012 Olympics.

Since retiring from her sport, Erin has focused her attention on academics. She completed a Masters at the University of Toronto, focusing specifically on abuse in sport and is currently pursuing a PhD in the same topic. She is passionate about ensuring athletes have a safe and inclusive environment while pursuing performance excellence.

Allison Sandmeyer-Graves (pronouns she/her) is the CEO of Canadian Women & Sport – a national non-profit and the leading voice and authority on women and sport in Canada. The organization works to create systemic change that permanently expands equity and inclusion for all girls and women at all levels of sport. Canadian Women & Sport is particularly committed to increasing the retention of girls as participants, expanding the presence of women in leadership roles, and improving the policy and investment conditions for women’s sport to grow and develop. In pursuing these goals, Allison works closely with researchers, government leaders, sport administrators, and media and other corporate and non-profit leaders across Canada to drive learning and action. She brings years of social impact leadership experience to the role in a career focused on mobilizing large scale, lasting change. Allison is motivated every day by the power of sport and believes that inclusive, equitable sport will help drive opportunity for women in all areas of society.

Paul Melia is the President and CEO at the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES). 

He originally joined the CCES in 1991 as Director of Education and Communications and was with the organization for eight years before leaving to pursue an opportunity in the high-tech industry. Paul’s passion for promoting values-based sport resulted in his return to the CCES. 

Paul plays a leadership role in managing the CCES’s operations and governance, which includes the administration of the Canadian Anti-Doping Program, leading the growth of the True Sport in Canada, and working with the federal, provincial, and territorial governments and other sport.

Paul works extensively in the international arena promoting ethical and doping-free sport. From 2002-06, he served as the first President of the Association of National Anti-Doping Organizations – an international group dedicated to advancing clean sport.

Paul is a graduate of the University of Ottawa with a Master of Health Administration.  Prior to joining the CCES, he was Chief of the Tobacco Programs Unit at Health Canada, where he was responsible for the direction and management of the department’s tobacco use reduction strategies.

 

Over the course of his career working on a variety of health and social issues, Paul has developed extensive knowledge and expertise in the development and implementation of public awareness, education, and social change campaigns. His leadership skills have been characterized by a clear vision, results-oriented approach to the management of a wide range of public issues.

Christine Hsu is an immigrant settler who uses nonbinary, genderfluid, queer woman of colour and living with invisibilised disability as some of the terms to describe how they move through the world.

They’ve been a lifelong multi-sport athlete whose work lies particularly in supporting the 2SLGBTQI communities using an intersectional, anti-oppression and anti-racist framework, to make sports and physical activities more accessible for underrepresented marginalized populations. This work includes ensuring that mainstream athletic spaces can strive to be safer and more inclusive for everyone from a trauma-informed and harm reduction lens. They are a certified learning professional, healing-centred/body positive personal trainer and coach, and physical and health educator for children, youth, and adults. Christine is currently working as an equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and anti-racism learning consultant who designs, develops, and delivers adult learning and workplace training as well as provide strategic design work for organizations seeking to make EDI-infused transformational changes. Specifically in the sports context, they were one of the founders and previous chair of Flags of Glory and currently sits on the Sports Inclusion Task Force as one of the coordinating members working to strive for 2SLGBTQI inclusion in sports across Canada. They have partnered with and/or provided training for sport organizations such as Canadian Women & Sport, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), Coaching Association of Canada (CAC), Ontario University Athletics (OUA), and often support physical educators who are coaches working in schools and those running queer recreational sports leagues.

Ali Greey (they/them) is a retired member of the Canadian national boxing team. Ali won three consecutive Canadian championships in the 81kg women’s division and was consistently ranked in the top eight in the world between 2014 and 2016. After retiring from boxing, Ali returned to graduate school, where they are now studying the experiences of trans and non-binary athletes in sport and trans and non-binary youth in schools. Ali is the co-editor of Justice for Trans Athletes and Trans Athletes’ Resistance. Ali is currently working with Athlete Ally and TransPulse (on behalf of the CCES) to make sport safer and more inclusive for trans and non-binary athletes.

 

Session 4: Oct. 16 - 11:00 a.m. ET / 8:00 a.m. PT

Sarah-Ève Pelletier is a former national team athlete in the sport of artistic swimming with years of experience as a strategic, business and legal professional in the global sport industry.

Sarah-Ève holds a Master’s Degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, in Entertainment Law, Media Law and Policy, a Law Degree from Laval University, a Sport Law certificate from Montpellier I University and an MSC in International Business from the University of London, UK. She is a member of the Quebec bar and an accredited civil mediator by the Quebec bar.

In her most recent position of Director, Sport Business & Sustainability at the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), she oversaw a wide array of portfolios, including athlete marketing and Olympian legacy, Games business strategy and operations, as well as ESG/sustainability. Her career as a professional includes such positions as Deputy General Counsel & Director, Business Affairs at the COC, as well as Media Rights Counsel at International Olympic Committee.

Session 5: Oct. 16 - 11:15 a.m. ET / 8:15 a.m. PT

Born and raised on Vancouver Island B.C., Allison Forsyth began her competitive ski career at five years of age. Progressing quickly up the ranks and qualifying for the national team at 17, she then competed exclusively on the World Cup Circuit of alpine skiing for 11 years, maintaining a Top 15 world ranking for the entire length of her career. She is an eight-time Canadian champion, has five World Cup podiums, and earned a bronze medal at the World Championships in 2003. She also competed for Canada in a pair of Olympic Games at Salt Lake 2002 and Turin 2006.

After retiring due to injury in 2008, she took her experience in sport marketing and elite sport, and started her career in brand, marketing, and corporate communications. Now based in Ontario, Allison is a partner in ITP Sport – Canada’s only full-service safe sport programming and consulting agency. The firm offers organizations services ranging from prevention programming to independent complaint management. Living through her own sexual abuse in the sport system, Allison became an advocate for change and has used her voice, skills, and passion to lead critical changes in the Canadian sport system. She is a proud board member of AthletesCAN, has supported the CCES in the development of the Universal Code of Conduct, and acted as an athlete advocate in the development of the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) safe sport training and education. Allison aims to make sport a safe, positive place for athletes of all levels, driven by her experience and her commitment for a better future in sport for her three young children.